Barbecuing is arguably the most American cooking tradition. Most Americans think fondly of the barbecues they have shared with friends and family, be it at home for a summer holiday, while camping, or at the local stadium before a big game.
Despite this unifying American tradition of barbecuing, not all barbecues are created equal. Knowing how to get perfectly juicy and smokey flavors every time doesn't just come naturally, and learning the precise science and art of barbecuing requires a lot of expertise that can only come from, first, learning about barbecuing, and second, practicing what you have learned.
To build a strong foundation for your next barbecue, definitely consider doing some background reading. To help you out, let's go through what you need to look for when looking for the best barbecue books for learning to smoke meat.
While there is no single book that can teach you absolutely everything that you need to know about barbecuing, investing in a couple of thorough guides is usually one of the easiest ways to get a strong grasp on the basics.
However, not every barbecue guide is created equally, and there are hundreds of books on the market. To wade through all these books, here's some things to keep in mind so that you can choose the best book for you.
When choosing a barbecue guide, it's a good idea to consider who the author is and what they know about barbecuing. Aside from the obvious need for the author to be a barbecue expert, you might also want to consider the kind of voice they have when they write. The author's voice is something that is particularly important to me: if I'm going to spend my time reading a book, especially if that book is information heavy, I like to have jokes or stories to keep it interesting.
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing a book is the kind of barbecue, grill, or style of barbecuing that the author presents in the book. This is especially important if you have already invested in a specific grill: you don't want to buy a guide that is all about a completely different appliance.
While the basics of barbecuing don't vary too much, the philosophy for how to improve your barbecuing techniques and the choice of equipment and tools can vary drastically. What's more, so can the specific ways to learn about the art of barbecuing.
In general, you can find barbecue guides with all kinds of background information. Some books will have a more scientific approach to explain why barbecuing should be done a certain way, and others may focus more on the traditions and history of a technique.
The book you choose will depend largely upon your own hobbies outside of barbecuing. A chemist, for instance, may really enjoy books that explains how each technique gives the meat a slightly different flavor. On the other hand, a journalist may be interested in a more auto-biographical guide, where the barbecuer explains how they came to be famous.
Most books for learning to barbecue will include some of the expert's favorite recipes. The best guides have recipes for all kinds of meats, although some will focus on a single kind of meat, like brisket. You can also find guides that focus on very traditional recipes that are deigned to help you truly master the basics, or you can choose instead a book that has a lot of avant garde dishes that you can use to impress your friends.
The style of barbecuing that you choose to pursue will be a direct reflection on your own personal taste and style, so it is important to start from the beginning by learning to make the dishes you love the most.
With all this in mind, let's now take a look at five of the best barbecue books for learning to smoke meat
Eric Mitchell is a judge of the Kansas City Barbecue Society and director of the New England Barbecue Society. Not only that, he has competed at both the Jack Daniel's World Championship Barbecue Invitational and the American Royal Invitational with his ceramic cooker. In this easy to read book, he gives you insider tips on how he roasts, smokes, and grills using his preferred kind of barbecue.
As an author, journalist, and television host for Primal Grill and Barbecue University, Steven Raichlen has a unique kind of expertise for writing a how-to book about grilling.
Coming from a humble background as the owner of a family-operated barbecue joint in Austin to being the winner of every single barbecue award, Aaron Franlkin's guide to smoking gives you the sense that you, too, will be able to become a master.
Jeff Phillips is well known online for his presence as a smoking expert, this book is like a reference guide for barbecuers of all experience levels. His straightforward storytelling makes this how-to guide easy to read, despite the fact that it is very information dense.
A world-renowned barbecuer and food critic, Meathead Goldwyn's barbecue guide is thorough, scientifically-based, and filled with tips for all kinds of barbecuing. His humorous voice makes this 350-page book easy and fun to read.
Ultimately, the decision about what book to buy as your guide to barbecuing will depend largely on your own personal preferences. However, as a guide that will be good for the majority of people to get into the more complex styles of barbecuing, Aaron Franlkin's Meat-Smoking Manifesto is a great starting option. Franklin's journey from amateur to award-winning expert means that he has already walked on the path where many beginners will find themselves. More importantly, his guide presents some of the more intricate details of smoking in an easy-to-understand way. While his book doesn't have as many recipes as others, his guide is one that you can grow with as you become more confident in barbecuing.
We hope you enjoyed our guides on the best barbecue books for learning to smoke meat!
There are two quintessential moments that call for delicious, smokey barbecues: camping and gathering with family and friends to enjoy the big game. Unfortunately, grills are often heavy pieces of equipment that are a hassle to bring with you when you head to the great outdoors or when you go to the local tailgate. To get around this problem, you'll need to find yourself a lightweight but solidly-built grill. Our Green Mountain Davy Crockett review below will give you all the details you need to decide if this smoker is right for you.
The Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is a family-sized grill with features that are geared toward portability. From its lightweight to its compact grilling space, this model is intended to tag along with you and your family on all your adventures. Not only that, this grill also has many high-tech features, like wifi compatibility so that you can keep an eye on and adjust the temperature from afar.
Precise Temperature Control Using Wifi-Enabled App: For many tech lovers, the ability to sync the temperature control panel with your cell phone or tablet is most likely the most exciting feature of this grill. Without leaving the action of your family gathering, you'll be able to know how far along your cook is, and you can adjust it if needs be. By using an automatic wood pellet feeder, this grill can regulate the rate at which fuel is added to the fire so that your grill never gets too hot or too cold. Better yet, the temperature on this grill can be adjusted by as little as five degrees, giving you a more precise and accurate temperature reading.
Chimney with Cover: If you sometimes have trouble keeping wind from cooling down the interior of your grill, you might be interested in the chimney system on this grill. By the same token, you may also enjoy this feature if you're worried about overwhelming the flavor of your meat with smoke. This is because the Green Mountain Davy Crockett, unlike most of its competitors, features a chimney with an adjustable opening. This means that you can open and close it as necessary, using it for controlling the smoke level and temperature as well as for protecting your cook from the elements.
Portable Design: Campers and tailgaters will likely enjoy the many features of this grill that allow it to be portable. Not only is it lightweight, it features foldable legs that can also be used as handles to carry it around. What's more, there is a fold-down rack on the exterior of the grill that you can use as part of your work space when you are cooking on the move. Finally, as an added bonus, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett comes with three different power adapters so that you don't need worry when it comes time to connecting the pellet feeder component of the grill.
Check out Date Night Doins BBQ For Two's review of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett below:
Green Mountain Davy Crockett Smoker Detailed Review
Above all, the main mission of this grill is to be as functional as possible for when
you are on the move. Coming in at only 57 pounds, it is one of the most lightweight smokers and grill options on the market. Furthermore, much attention to detail is placed on making it so this grill can easily convert from its portable, compact form in the trunk of your car to a viable barbecuer at your campsite or on the back of your truck at the game.
The Green Mountain Davy Crockett is so lightweight because it is made from stainless steel and aluminium. While this is a bonus for the weight, it does mean that you need to pay extra attention to keeping this grill from the rain, and you will likely want to protect it from humidity using a cover. Otherwise, you will probably end up with a non-functional, rusted out model.
The portability of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett pellet grill even applies to its shipment: it comes pre-assembled. To get this grill up and running, you will only need to adjust the handle of the lid and attach the smoke stack to finish assembling this grill.
Pay attention to properly seasoning this grill, however, as this can be a tricky process and it will directly affect the flavor of your future cooks.
Beginners and experts alike will probably be relieved to know that this grill is easy to use. Featuring a one-touch ignition, automated wood pellet feeder, and precise, remote control of the temperature, nearly everyone will be able to achieve a desirable cook without needing to put in too much effort.
Overall, most barbecuers will be able to get a very quality cook, especially if they take a time to play around with some of the features that will directly affect the flavor. For instance, because of the chimney, you should be able to control exactly how smokey your cook tastes. You can also play around with different wood chip flavors and different seasonings for the meat and vegetables.
Otherwise, many users will enjoy the versatility of doing direct barbecuing and braising in the same unit as indirect smoke cooking.
With this model, cleaning isn't particularly easy, nor is it particularly hard. There are no particular features that make this grill easier to clean than its competitors, but it is designed in such a way that you will have easy access to the ash from the wood pellet fire pit. In any case, take care to vacuum this debris out of the bottom each time you use the grill.
Overall, the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is one of the best values for portable grills on the market. It is not only made from quality, lightweight materials, but it is made with several innovative features that help to give you a more precise control with your cook. Beginners and experts who want to have access to a grill while they are camping or at a cookout will likely enjoy this easy to use model.
Let's take a look at some of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett's competition:
Wood pellet grills were developed in 1985 by a man named Joe Traeger, the owner of a heating company in Oregon. At first, Traeger designed these grills so that he could continue selling wood pellets in the summertime, when his sales fell drastically because of the warm weather. While these grills became popular because they used a fuel source that was much cheaper than the traditional propane gas, they remained popular because, as it turns out, wood pellet fueled flames are much easier to control than gas and charcoal.
Today, Traeger is known for making top-of-the-line, high-quality grills for all kinds of barbecuers. In its line of portable grills, you'll find the Traeger Tailgater 20. This family-sized grill, like the other Traeger models, is fueled by wood pellets that burn slowly over time to give you a great, smokey flavor in your cook. However, unlike the rest of the Traeger line of grills, the Traeger Tailgater 20 is lightweight with EZ-fold legs that can be collapsed into the sides, meaning that you'll be able to bring it along with you, whether you are headed to camp or tail gate at the game.
Versatile Cooking Capability: The most exciting feature for many users will be the many ways that this grill can be used. It has 300 square feet of cooking space, and that means that you should be able to cook up to twelve burgers or two whole chickens. Not only that, the cooking barrel can sustain both high temperatures for direct cooking like grilling and braising, and it can also be used for smoking. Even better, the hopper automatically feeds wood pellets into the fire box as needed so that you can keep a constant temperature without needing to pay constant attention to the grill.
Digital Elite Controller and Side Hopper: By using an internal temperature reading system, the grill self-regulates the rate that it feeds the wood pellets into the fire pit. For your peace of mind, the internal temperature is also visible on the exterior of the grill. This can be especially useful because it means you will have less of a need to open the grill and lose the heat that has built up over time. Better yet, the opening to the hopper is well-isolated from the rest of the grill body. This means that you can easily add wood without disturbing the fire. However, we always recommend having a good thermometer on hand to check with temperature of your food.
Portable: For those looking to have a grill and smoker that can travel with them, from campsites to tailgates, the lightweight design of this Traeger grill is probably appealing. In addition to this, the grill features EZ-fold legs so that you can minimize the amount of space that this piece of equipment will take inside your trunk. And, as an added bonus, you shouldn't have a reason to bring any kindling or matches, as this model also features an electronic auto-start ignition.
Check out Goemans Appliance's review of the Traeger Tailgater 20 below:
Traeger Tailgater 20 Detailed Review
Holding true to its design as a portable grill, the Tailgater 20 comes in at a feather-like 62 pounds. With a compact cooking space and foldable legs, you should have no problem fitting this grill in the back of your car when you're on the go.
In addition to being portable, this Traeger model is also versatile. By being able to accommodate both direct cooking techniques like barbecuing and indirect smoke cooking, you should only need to bring this grill with you when you head out on your next camping trip.
What's more, the grill features a hands off design in the sense that the wood pellet feeder works directly with the internal temperature thermometer to retain an optimal rate for adding wood pellets to the fire. By maintaining the temperature without your help, you can spend more time enjoying your retreat into the wilderness or watching the game.
Despite being so lightweight, the Traeger Tailgater 20 is a durable appliance made of steel. With the quality of the Traeger name backing it up, you should have no problems with rusting or paint chipping so long as you take the time to do proper maintenance for your grill. In this way, many people who already know that they enjoy grilling and smoking may find that this is the perfect investment for bringing their hobby with them on trips.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with the Traeger Tailgater 20 is that the assembly process is extremely difficult. Many will find that the instructions are unclear. Worse, they give little to no information about the necessary set-up protocol so that you properly cure the grill. You will probably need to call customer service or do your own background research to know the best techniques for assembling this grill.
On the other hand, once the grill is set-up, it is rather simple to use. With the help of features like the easy-start ignition button as well as the temperature controller system, there is very little that you need to do to keep a steady temperature and smoke level so that you can get a good cook. The biggest downside with this model is that the temperature can only be adjusted by every twenty degrees, and this may make it difficult to get a small and precise temperature range.
You should have no trouble making good food with this top-of-the-line grill. You can reach both high temperatures for direct cooking like grilling and braising, but you can also slow cook your tougher meats like brisket with the smoking system. In general, you will probably want to use this grill for indirect cooking because it has more features geared toward this, including its automatic wood pellet feeder. Nonetheless, you will still be able to do burgers and a nice smoked chicken without too much of an issue.
Cleaning up after your cookout may pose some challenges with this grill. While cleaning the porcelain grates is meant to be easy, you may have more difficulties with the fire pit. Unlike competitors that feature a way to easily empty this part of the grill, you will need to spend the time vacuuming or scooping out the ash out of the body between cooks.
The Traeger Tailgater 20 wood pellet grill is a high-quality model that is backed by the Traeger namesake. The simple design of the grill allows it to be versatile and portable. Nonetheless, for its above-the-average price tag, some users may find that the Tailgater 20 is expensive because it does not have features that some of its competitors have, including remote control temperature management, lack of precise temperature controls, or wifi connectivity. Others may find that the Traeger name and the quality that this name is supposed to guarantee is enough of a reason to invest so much money into a portable grill.
Let's take a look at some of the Traeger Tailgater 20's competition:
For those living in apartment complexes, condos, and in areas of the country where there are heavy fire restrictions, getting a good summertime barbecue can seem like more of a hassle than it is worth. However, there is hope in the form of electric smokers which use a heating element rather than a flame to cook your meat. In our article below, we give you our picks for the best electric smokers for barbecuing.
One of the biggest reasons that people convert to electric smokers is that these appliances are much cheaper to fuel than traditional grills. In general, gas and charcoal are used as fuels for these grills, and they can be expensive depending on the time of year and the region where you live. On the other hand, electricity is generally cheap, so even if it takes a lot of power to run your smoker, you will likely end up saving money by making the switch to an electric smoker.
Other reasons that people switch to electric smokers is because these models are often designed with flashier "high-tech" features. Because they are electric, the temperature is typically easier to control, and so it is common for these kinds of smokers to be coupled with remote controls, Bluetooth, or wifi-controlled applications.
When considering which smoker you should buy, you will want to focus on two major factors: the size of the smoker and the amount of power it consumes. In most cases, electric smokers are cabinet-style appliances with a few grated shelves that give you your cooking space inside. As such, the biggest changes you will see as you compare different models on the market is the total amount of square inches on these shelves.
The second factor to consider is the power consumption of the smoker. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the smoker, the more power it will need in order to properly function. You will also want to consider the maximum amount of power that is allowed to leave your outdoor outlets. If the appliance demands too much power from the energy source, you will end up tripping your outlets, thus halting your ability barbecue entirely.
Finally, as an added bonus, you can consider if your smoker is capable of cold smoking, a feature that generally requires an external cold-smoke generating source that runs off of electricity. This technique will provide you with some variety in the kinds of foods you can cook as well as the complexity of flavors you can create, but it may be too complicated for beginners.
This cabinet-style, stainless steel smoker is sleek, and it is reliable enough to smoke your food for up to eight hours with little interference on your part. The heating element runs on 500 Watts, and the smoking element runs on 125 Watts.
Huge and running on 1,200 Watts of power, the Masterbuilt 40" Digital Electric Smoker is ideal for cooking for large parties. Check out our full review of the Masterbuilt 40" Digital Electric Smoker.
The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is a cabinet-style smoker made of steel with removable, cast-iron grates. Check out our review of the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker.
Easily the largest cabinet smoker on the market, the Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker runs on 1,000 Watts. Check out our full review of it here.
While Bradley has since expanded the models that they offer, their Original electric smoker remains one of their most popular items. Check out our full review of the Bradley Original Electric Smoker here.
Ultimately, most dedicated barbecuers prefer to have some kind of "true" fuel source like charcoal or propane, and many scoff at electric smokers because they are perceived as being less able to produce an authentic, wood-smoked flavor. However, most electric smokers are equipped to work with wood chips or wood pellets, which means that the smoke generated in these completely authentic. Furthermore, electric smokers often feature auto-regulation for the temperature, and often, you can even find these appliances with Bluetooth or wi-fi connectivity so that you can monitor and control the temperature from afar.
Nonetheless, for a quality electric smoker that is durable but easy to use, your best bet is probably the Bradley Original Smoker. This smoker is more than adequate for cooking for a small crowd, and unlike larger smokers like the Masterbuilt 40" Smoker, it does not require as much time to pre-heat, and it is more capable of maintaining this temperature without your help thanks to its automatic briquette feeder. Additionally, the relatively small power requirement of 500 Watts is manageable for most outlet sources, so you shouldn't have to worry so much about tripping your power outlets. And, of course, this smoker can also be updated with a cold smoke generator, making it an interesting and multifaceted tool.
Getting a quality barbecue requires three things: 1) patience, 2) high-quality ingredients, and 3) reliable and efficient tools. The most important of these tools is, of course, the smoker itself -- especially when you want an authentic, mouth-watering smokey flavor. In this article, we give you the best pellet smokers for barbecuing.
While you can find smokers that are powered by all sorts of heat sources, only wood-fueled fires can give you a legitimate, all-natural smoke flavoring. To help you find the best wood-fueled barbecue smoker, here's a review of some of the best pellet smokers.
Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe Pellet Grill
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
Traeger Grills Tailgater 20
Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker
Pellet smokers are characterized by their consumption of wood pellets made from compacted sawdust as a heat source. They date back to the early 1980s, when Oregon's Traeger Heating developed a pellet-powered grill as a way to continue selling wood pellets in the summertime, when their customers no longer needed to heat their homes. This idea of a grill that could be powered by such an inexpensive heat source caught on quickly, and today, there are many different brands offering their own version of this classic smoker. Better yet, these smokers are frequently updated with the industry's newest technology because of their popularity.
While pellet smokers caught on so quickly because they were cheaper to use than propane, they have remained popular for many more reasons: versatility, ease of use, and the delicious result.
Above all, with a pellet smoker, you can give yourself access to more cooking techniques. If you choose a smoker with a traditional grill-shaped body, you'll be able to braise, bake, and roast meat in addition to smoking. On the other hand, if you choose a barbecue that is compatible with a cold-smoke generator, you'll have the capability to smoke pre-cooked meats and seafood.
Beyond this, pellet smokers are often the easiest kinds of smokers to use, no matter if you are just beginning to learn how to smoke meats or if you have already smoked hundreds of barbecues. As a consequence of advancements in temperature control technology, pellet smokers are typically equipped with an automatic feeder that will help maintain a constant fire inside of the heating apparatus by feeding the smoker pellets as the temperature drops. The major advantage, of course, is that you will usually be able to "set it and forget it," giving you more time to spend with your family and friends.
Finally, pellet smokers run by burning real wood, meaning that your barbecue will have the advantage of being flavored by a natural smoke source. While they were traditionally made with sawdust, you can now find pellets that are made from all kinds of woods, from mesquite to apple wood to alder -- and more! This means that you'll be able to make your barbecue more and more complex as you experiment with different combinations of meats, techniques, and woods.
There's a good reason why barbecues are typically associated with summer nights: getting a smoker to a high temperature and keeping it in this range is much more difficult in the winter than in the summer, especially if you live in a region where winters are cold and snowy. Stick to smoking meats and veggies in the spring, summer, and fall to get the best results.
As with any smoker or grill, you'll need to consider your goals for the appliance. How often will you be using your smoker? Will you need it to cook for just your immediate family, or do you need something to cook for parties of ten or more people? Have you considered doing cold smoking, or will hot smoking be sufficient? All of these questions can help guide you to the best smoker for you.
Since you'll be able to find this kind of smoker in all sizes, the shape of the cooking area is the most important aspect for you to consider. In general, there are two shapes: a cabinet that contains all elements of the smoking process, and a standard, offset grill. Of these two shapes, most barbecuers prefer to have the standard offset grill shape because it allows you to do direct cooking via barbecuing or roasting in addition to indirect cooking via smoking or braising.
If you're a tech geek, you may also be concerned with the bells and whistles that come with your smoker. For instance, not all smokers have an automatic pellet feeder, so if you are truly interested in having a barbecue that you do not have to tend to during the smoking process, you'll also need to verify that this feature is there. You might also be specifically interested in a wifi- or remote-controlled model.
Other extra features that you might come across include easy cleanup features, such as porcelain-coated grates that you can wipe clean, or a smoker that is cool-to-the-touch to help keep children and pets (and grownups!) from burning themselves.
This cabinet-style, stainless steel smoker is sleek, and it is reliable enough to smoke your food for up to eight hours with little interference on your part.
The Traeger Tailgater 20 is a versatile grill and smoker from the company that first envisioned pellets as a possible fuel source for barbecues. Check out our full review here.
The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is a cabinet-style smoker made of steel with removable, cast-iron grates. Check out our review of the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker.
The Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is a portable, grill-style smoker made from stainless steel. Check out our full review of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett here.
The Camp Chef PG24DLX model is a large, grill-style smoker made from steel.
Ultimately, the smoker you choose will depend largely upon your own personal needs: the number of people you'll need to cook for, the kinds of foods you want to smoke, your experience with smoking, and the location where you intend to use your smoker.
While cabinet smokers can be useful for smoking a lot of food at home, they are usually electric and require a stable home on your patio. Not only that, they usually do not give you access to an open flame, and so you are limited to indirect cooking. To maximize your options with a pellet smoker, it is best to choose a traditionally-shaped grill that can accommodate both direct cooking on an open flame and indirect cooking from the smoke of your pellet-feeder.
Above all, most barbecuers will find that having a reliable at-home grill will fulfill a majority of their smoking needs, although portability is an added benefit for frequent campers and tailgaters. Because of its overall reliability, generous size, self-regulation, and easy-to-use design, your best bet for a quality pellet smoker is probably the Camp Chef PG24DLX Pellet Grill.
Making the choice between a grill and a smoker can be challenging. Grills are better for cooking meat at higher temperatures, and you can make many classic meals on these surfaces, like fire-seared steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled veggies. On the other hand, slowly smoked brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder are all classics that can only be achieved by cooking your meat slowly and for a period of several hours.
Oftentimes, grilling and smoking require different kinds of grill bodies, and so it is nearly impossible to have seared steaks one night and brisket the next. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is simply to find a grill that can sustain a wide range of temperatures, like the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker.
The Akorn Kamado Kooker is a mid-range grill and smoker barbecue that runs on charcoal, and the major draw for this grill is its versatility. By giving you a huge range of temperature control, you should be able to go easily between smoking and traditional grilling for smaller gatherings of up to five people.
Even better, the straightforward mode of operation is accessible for beginners, and the modern perks like the built-in temperature gauge keeps it interesting for the experts. You'll also find that the relatively lightweight design of the Akorn Kamado Kooker makes it a good contender for a portable grill, particularly for those barbecuers who like to camp.
Versatility to Cook at High and Low Temperatures: The most appealing aspect of the Akorn Kamado Kooker is that it allows you to go easily from smoking to grilling. This is possible because the smoker has a compact, dome-shaped body that is both short enough to let flames cook your food directly and well-insulated enough to maintain low smoking temperatures for a long period of time. This dual-functionality can be most appealing for people who want to consolidate their grilling equipment, but it can also be a good stepping stone for people who want to transition from grilling to smoking. In any case, the flexibility of the Akorn Kamado Kooker to go from smoking to grilling without temperature problems is an advantage that is hard to find in many combination grills. This interesting feature is made possible by the incorporation of dampers at both the top and bottom of the grill. These dampers are precisely measured and marked using an indexing system, and by opening them to a specific opening each time, you can set and maintain temperatures from 200°- 700° F.
Portable Design: While it is entirely possible to store the Akorn Kamado Kooker in your backyard or garage for home use, it is also possible to bring this light-weight grill with you for camping and tailgating events. With sturdy rubber wheels that can be locked in place and fold-down tables, you should have no problem loading this grill to go just about anywhere. Better yet, the self-sustaining charcoal heat source doesn't limit you by requiring electricity or a stable source of propane.
Large Cooking Area: With 314 square inches of principal cooking space and an additional 133 square-inch warming rack, you should have plenty of space to manage a standard family barbecue no matter where you use the Akorn Kamado Kooker.
Removable Ash Pan: Removing the ash that builds up in this charcoal grill is simplified by the addition of a removable ash pan at the bottom of the grill's body.
Check out GeauxGrilling's review of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker below:
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker Detailed Review
On the whole, the Akorn Kamado Kooker is a very simple grill and smoker combo. It does not have some of the flashier elements that you might find in its competitors, but what it lacks in gadgets and gizmos, it makes up for in versatility. The dome-shaped body of this grill and its upper and lower dampers give you access to both grilling and smoking. Meanwhile, at roughly 100 pounds, this multifunctional piece of equipment can tag along for camping and tailgating events.
The body of the grill is well-designed. It is made almost exclusively of steel for excellent insulation. The 22-gauge steel body is coated with porcelain on the interior to help maintain high and low temperatures as well as to make cleanup easier. The exterior, on the other hand, is made of powder-coated steel to give the Akorn Kamado Kooker a hard, protected finish.
Inside the grill, you'll find cast iron grates. While these are appealing for searing meat at high temperatures, the exposed iron metal may be subject to rusting. You will probably want to pay extra attention when cleaning and maintaining these grates.
The only major problem that you might run into with the Akorn Kamado grill is some water build-up in the ash tray. This comes from humidity inside the body if you are smoking meat or vegetables with the damper closed. To remedy this, you might choose to adjust your dampers or to drill a hole into the bottom of the ash pan.
Like other Char-Griller models, the Akorn Kamado Kooker is easy to assemble. It has less than 30 pieces, and it requires only a 7/16 wrench to assemble. You'll find a detailed guide with photo demonstrations with your grill.
Experienced barbecuers should have few problems when cooking with the Kamado Kooker, and beginners may be able to learn many new techniques with the help of the damper guide that comes with this grill. Like most multifunctional grills, you will control the temperature using dampers at the top and bottom of the body. By simply adjusting indexed dampers, you should be able to easily set and maintain a wide range of temperatures. With minor adjustments, you can also have access to different flame heights, which can be used to give your cook the nice seared edge that is typical of flame-grilling.
In general, most barbecuers have found that the Akorn Kamado Kooker is good for cooking at both extremes of the barbecue spectrum. The quality of this grill-and-smoker's cook comes from the temperature control, allowing you to set a low-temperature, slow burning fire for smoked meats or a tall, high-temperature fire for searing meats. In either case, you can control more specific flavors of your barbecue by experimenting with different flavored wood chips and other additives.
Cleaning this Char-Griller brand grill and smoker is intended to be easy. To remove ash after each cook, you simply need to detach the ash pan, located at the bottom of the body. With a porcelain-coated interior and cast-iron grates, you should also be able to easily wipe away grease build-up after each use.
Keep in mind that cleanup is a priority for maintaining a long lifetime with this grill. Many users who let too much grease build up inside the body of the grill and on the grates experienced problems with rusting as well as the opening and closing of the dampers.
The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker is an excellent multi-purpose grill at a very reasonable price. The well-insulated 22-gauge steel body is expected to be durable so long as it is regularly maintained. As a low-cost, easy-to-master model, most beginners will not have to feel shy about investing in this multi-purpose grill, and experts can benefit from this grill's versatility and portability. Not only does this grill have the capacity to do low-temperature smoking, you are also able to get the grill running at temperatures as high as 700°F. This gives you the flexibility to do just about any kind of cooking that you might need, and as an added bonus, the lightweight of this grill also means that it is portable enough to travel with you for camping or tailgating for cooking wherever you need to.
Let's take a look at some of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker's competition:
Good barbecues are the basis of many fond memories. From celebrating holidays, to enjoying warm summer nights, to having a good meal during the game, barbecues are an important staple for many of us.
Of course, to make these barbecues a reality, it is important to first have the right tools... and the most important of these tools is the grill. A good grill will be well-built with durable materials like stainless steel, and it will be heavy so as to be able to insulate and maintain high temperatures.
Weber grills are well-known for their quality, and the Genesis II line of grills are no exception. The Weber Genesis II E-410 model is one of these high-end Genesis II models with four separate burners. Heavy, large enough to feed groups of up to 10 people, and compatible with plenty of add-on accessories this grill is easy to use and a good option for beginners and experts alike.
GS4 High Performance Grilling System with Infinity Ignition: The Weber Genesis II E-410 is built with a four-component heating system. The first part of this system is the Infinity Ignition, which makes lighting and adjusting the temperature of the grill hassle-free. The second aspect of this heating system involved the burners, which are in four rows beneath the grill's grates. These burners are designed to heat every inch of the grill evenly. Next, to protect the burners from the dripping grease, this grill system uses "flavorizer bars" which allow the grease to heat up to a smoking point. The resulting smoke can then circulate through the grill to give your meat and veggies an additional smokey flavor. Finally, the GS4 grill system features a grease management system that forces the grease to leave the body of the grill into an easy-to-reach drip pan on the exterior. Not only does this make cleanup easy for you, it also helps to protect the interior of the body from corrosion.
Huge Cooking Area, Two Stainless Steel Prep Areas, and Storage Space: For barbecuers who intend to cook for relatively large groups of people, the Genesis II E-410 has a large 646 square inch cooking space. To complement this large space, the grill also features two stainless steel preparation areas on either side of the body. Better yet, below the body of the grill and the drip pan, there is also the space to store tools or serving platters.
Compatible with the iGrill3 Bluetooth Monitoring System: With the addition of an iGrill3 thermometor, it is possible to keep an eye on your grill while you enjoy watching the game or spending time with your family and friends. The system works via a Bluetooth application to keep you up to date on the current internal temperature of your grill as well as the fuel levels.
Check out BBQGuys.com's review of the Weber Genesis II E-410 below:
Weber Genesis II E-410 Detailed Review
Weber grills are often associated with quality and longevity. This comes from the fact that Weber grills are often made with high quality materials, and the Genesis II E-410 is no exception. Weighing in at 189 pounds, the body of this grill is made from stainless steel, and the interior of the grill features cast-iron grates. To protect these metals from rusting, the exterior of the grill and the grates are coated with porcelain.
On top of that, this grill features a larger-than-average cooking surface of 626 square inches, making it a viable option for cooking up to ten people. Its large size and dependence on propane or natural gas make it a poor option for camping or tailgating, but it does make for a nice addition to a patio.
The key novelty of the Genesis II E-410 grill is its updated GS4 heating system and its compatibility with high-tech accessories. These features convert this otherwise no-fuss, traditional patio grill into a modern piece of equipment that can be enjoyed at least a decade.
The Weber Genesis II E-410 comes in both propane and natural gas versions.
The assembly of the Genesis II E-410 grill is not simple, although instructions for assembly are included. Most users opt for professional assembly, especially when using natural gas as the heating source, so as to avoid making any mistakes during the assembly process.
Using this grill is extremely easy. The Infinity Ignition system involves simply turning a knob to light and adjust the temperature. Because this grill is well-insulated, you shouldn't have any difficulties maintaining your desired temperature. On top of that, cleanup is as simple as possible with its centralized grease management system.
In general, this grill offers a delicious cook. The row of burners mean that your barbecue will be cooked evenly as there are no cold spots, and the flavorizer bars will offer an additional layer of smokey flavor. You'll be able to cook both meat and veggies with this grill, and by using the warming rack, you'll also be able to toast the buns simultaneously.
There is one major problem with the Genesis II E-410 grill, however, and this is that the upper temperature range (near 400°F) is nearly impossible to maintain. While indirect heating can offer you enough possibilities for a delicious barbecue, direct heating at very high temperatures to sear your steak is a bit underwhelming.
Cleanup is often the dreaded part of barbecuing, but this grill has two features to make this easy. The first is the porcelain-coating of the grates which allow you to effortlessly wipe down the grill after each use. In addition, the centrally-located grease pan allows you to dispose of the grease directly without needing to reopen the body itself.
For beginners and experts alike, the Weber Genesis II E-410 grill is a quality, high-end option that is, above all, well-made. As described already in this Weber Genesis II E-410 review, its modernized GS4 heating system, functional design, and adaptability with interesting high-tech features like Bluetooth make it stand out among its competitors. The only major drawback of this grill is that it may be difficult to sear meats and char vegetables at higher temperatures. Nonetheless, if what you're looking for is a reliable, durable grill that can be a mainstay in your backyard, this multi-functional grill is a great option.
Let's take a look at some of the Weber Genesis II E-410's competition:
From summer gatherings and holidays to weekend afternoons watching the game, many of our fondest of memories come from home-cooked family barbecues. With these memories of hot dogs and hamburgers or grilled corn on the cob, you might also have in mind the image of the grill. For a lot of people, a grill is an enormous piece of equipment that takes up a lot of space on the patio in the backyard.
For smaller families or for people who live in areas with small outdoor spaces, a large grill that can cook for huge parties is impractical. Luckily, smaller but high-quality models are still an option. The Weber Genesis II E-210 is one such high-end gas-powered grill with enough room to cook for three to four people. This compact grill will take up less space on your patio while still being practical with plenty of storage space. Better yet, for tech lovers, this grill can be upgraded with several add-ons, including the iGrill Bluetooth system.
GS4 High Performance Grilling System with Infinity Ignition: The most unique aspect of the Weber Genesis II E-210 grill is its updated heating system made of three major components. The first is the Infinity Ignitor, which is built so that you can easily start your grill with the turn of a knob even while using propane or natural gas. The second aspect of the heating system is the placement of the burners. They are lined in rows from front to back from the entry point of the gas to ensure that all areas of the grill body receive equal heat from the flames. These burners are protected by the final heating component, the so-called "flavorizer bars." These bars are angled to catch drippings and convert them to smoke. The result is that your barbecue will be infused with a complex smokey flavor.
Tuck-Away Warming Rack: In addition to the large heating space for your meat and veggies, this grill also comes with a warming rack just above the grilling surface. This can be used to toast buns or keep food warm without getting in the way of the rest of your cook.
Grease-Catching System: As grease collects inside the body of a grill, the risk of a fire increases. This is why the Weber Genesis series of grills feature a grease-catching system that is on the exterior of the grill body. As you cook, the grease will make its way down to an easy-to-reach drip pan, keeping the interior of your grill as clean as possible. The only caveat is that the central, exterior location of this drip pan can mean easy access for not just you, but also for pets and children.
Built-in Storage: You'll have the option to store your tools on the side of your grill with six built-in hooks on the side of the grill body. Better yet, the open design of the cart gives you extra storage space below the grease pan for all your barbecue accessories, from cleaning tools to thermometers to serving plates. Additionally, you'll have access to a fold down side table on the left-hand side of the grill, which can give you extra space for food prep or to transfer your barbecue from the grill to a plate.
iGrill3 Bluetooth System Compatibility: With the addition of an iGrill3 thermometor (sold separately), you'll be able to use the Weber iGrill app in order to monitor the temperature of your grill as well as the fuel tank level from a distance. This can be great for when you want to enjoy the party (or the game) while still cooking a delicious meal.
Check out Uncle Dynamite's review of the Weber Genesis II E-210 below:
Weber Genesis II E-210 Detailed Review
The major appeal of a buying a Weber grill is that it comes with the tradition of quality craftsmanship that is associated with the Weber name. The Weber Genesis II E-210 is no exception. With a stainless steel body weighing around 140 pounds, this grill is durable enough to be a main feature on your patio for years to come. With porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, you should have no problem keeping your grill's interior clean.
Not only that, Weber grills tend to have many smaller details that make them versatile and functional. The open cart design, storage space, and fold down table are all designed to make this grill as easy to use as possible. Beyond that, the Genesis II series pushes the envelope with its new and improved heating system as well as its high-tech bonuses like the iGrill3 compatibility.
The Weber Genesis II E-210 comes in both propane and natural gas versions.
Unfortunately, this grill is not easy to assemble, and it does not come assembled. Because there are certain aspects of this grill that can be dangerous to assemble yourself, including installing the gas line, it is recommended to plan for professional assembly.
Cooking with this grill is made to be as easy as possible, even if you are a beginner. Lighting the grill is made to be easy, as all you'll need to do is turn the knobs to let the Infinity Ignition do its job. From there, the design of the grill is uncomplicated, giving you a large work space to cook meat and veggies. Additionally, with the grease management system that forces the grease outside the body of the grill into the central drip pan, your risk of grease fires is low.
In general, this grill cooks excellently because of its overall distinguished construction. Moreover, the flavorizer bar system translates to a well-designed indirect heating system. This gives your barbecue a complex smokey flavor that you can't get from most general grills.
However, this grill does have one major problem, and it is that it is difficult to reach temperatures higher than 400°F, even with pre-heating. Without this very high temperature range, it will be difficult for you to get a nice sear from direct cooking alone.
This grill is easy to clean. The porcelain-coated grates do not tend to accumulate grease, and they can be easily wiped down after you are finished cooking. In addition, the centralized drip pan is not only easy to access, it will also minimize the amount of grease you need to clean on the interior of your grill.
The Weber Genesis II E-210 is a suitable option for people who already grill a lot and want to update their current model to something with newer features. It is durable with an overall good cooking capacity, and it is versatile enough for just about any kind of food. The only major problem that could be found in this Weber Genesis II E-210 review is that you might run into difficulties getting this grill to reach temperatures much higher than 400°F. Nevertheless, while it is slightly more expensive than average, this grill comes backed with the Weber tradition of quality and many practical details that will be satisfying for beginners and experts alike.
Let's take a look at some of the Weber Genesis II E-210's competition:
When we can find the time to relax, we often use that time to socialize with our friends and family. We might go out to eat, head to a game... or, we might instead choose to bring together the best of both worlds by having a nice, home-style barbecue in the comfort of our own home.
The first step to getting a good barbecue for these gatherings is, of course, investing in the right kind of grill. Finding a grill that is able to handle enough food for a medium-sized group without taking up too much space or being too much of a hassle for cleanup can be a challenge. Nonetheless, it is possible.
For a mid-sized but high-quality grill, one recently redesigned option is the Weber Genesis II E-310. This grill is sleek, with the capacity to cook for groups of five to seven. With a straightforward design and compatibility with a wide range of accessories, this durable grill can certainly make for a nice addition to your backyard entertainment setup.
The Weber Genesis II E-310 comes in both liquid propane and natural gas models.
GS4 High Performance Grilling System: The most important update in the Genesis series of grills comes from the new-and-improved heating system. This system has four components that work together to make the grill simple-to-use and efficient. The first aspect of this heating system is the Infinity Ignition, which allows you to light the burners and control the intensity of their heat with only the turn of the knob. The second aspect of this heating system is the burners. Each knob controls a line of burners that goes from the front of the grill to the back, thereby ensuring that there are no cold spots in the grill. They are protected by the third aspect of the heating system: flavorizer bars, which are angled to catch grease as it falls. This grease is then heated to its smoke point, offering a consistent smoke to the interior of the grill. Finally, the grease is funneled to a drip pan on the exterior of the grill so as to help prevent grease flare-ups within the body of the grill and to help make cleanup as hassle-free as possible.
Compatible with iGrill3 Bluetooth Monitoring and other Accessories: While the E-310 model stands well on its own, it is compatible with many accessories. The most appealing of which for the modern barbecuer is its compatibility with the iGrill3 Bluetooth monitoring system. This system allows you to monitor the temperature and fuel levels of your grill while still enjoying time with your friends and family while watching the game.
Fold-Down Left Side Table and Other Storage Features: At their full size, grills can take up a large amount of space in your backyard. However, by using fold-down table options, just as the E-310 grill does, you'll be able to save some of this space when your grill is not in use. In addition, this grill features six storage hooks for tools as well as a large amount of space under the drip pan of the grill. All of these sleek features give you a grill that is not just visually appealing, but also functional.
Check out WowBBQ.co.uk's review of the Weber Genesis II E-310 below:
Weber Genesis II E-310 Detailed Review
The Weber Genesis II E-310 grill is sleek with an open-cart design that gives you the freedom to dress it up as you wish. It is, nonetheless, durable, with a body that is made from stainless steel and grates that are made from cast iron. Additionally, both the body and the grates are covered with porcelain to insulate heat and provide for a smooth, easily-cleaned surface.
Despite its sleek design, the E-310 weighs in at 150 pounds. This translates to a unit that is very well-adapted to storing heat. It also translates to a grill that is better-kept in your backyard rather than traveling with you on camping trips or to tailgates.
The Weber Genesis II E-310 comes in both propane and natural gas versions.
Unfortunately, for all its other positive qualities, the Weber Genesis II E-310 grill is not an easy model to assemble. Without the help of a professional, assembly can take up to three hours to finish. What's more, the size of the grill requires that you have the help of at least one other person.
Above all, this grill is easy to use. Igniting and maintaining the internal temperature is managed with the simple turn of three knobs on the front of the body. Additionally, managing the grease that comes from the grill is simplified, as it collects in the drip pan below the grill's body.
Swapping out the propane tank is relatively straight-forward and the porcelain on the grates and flavorizer bars make them easy to clean.
As you'd expect for a high-end grill, the quality of the cook is good. Because the heat of the grill is evenly dispersed and because of the flavorizer bar system provides for a robust smoke source, the E-310 model is equipped to handle indirect cooking for both meat and vegetables.
However, one of the major problems with this grill is not able to reach extremely high temperatures. This affects the direct cooking capability, making it difficult to sear meat or char vegetables with this model.
The Weber Genesis II series of grills are made to be extremely easy to clean. With porcelain-coated grates, wiping down the interior of the grill should not pose much of a hassle. Furthermore, the drip pan on the exterior of the E-310 allows you to quickly remove the grease leftover from the cook (although it should be noted that this grease pan can pose a risk for children and pets).
As with other Weber grills, the Genesis II E-310 is well-built and durable with enough space to cook for up to seven people. Additionally, as we've seen in this Weber Genesis II E-310 review, the built-in storage, fold-away racks, and high-quality porcelain coating, make this an incredibly sleek but functional model. The only major drawback of this grill is that it might not be able to maintain very high temperatures that are necessary to sear meat. Nevertheless, with quality in every other aspect, the Weber Genesis II E-310 seems to be the perfect option for an experienced barbecuer who is looking to upgrade their barbecue for the next decade.
Let's take a look at some of the Weber Genesis II E-310's competition: